June 26, 2017

Caribbean Airlines Boeing crash – everyone survived

Flight 523 does its best 'Concorde' impression. Excellent effort.

A Caribbean Airlines Boeing 737-800 with 163 people on board has crashed in Guyana after it overshot the runway.

The flight 523 left John F. Kennedy International Airport on Friday evening, stopping in Trinidad before landing in Guyana. Everything was all cool up until that moment, but the plane failed to stop after it landed and ploughed into a neighbouring field at Cheddi Jagan International Airport.

So the good news is the plane landed. The bad news is it kept going and slid through a fence. The good news hit back by having all the passengers and crew survive. The bad news is the plane was totaled. The good news had the final say though because the sliding plane stopped just short of a steep ravine. So that all adds up to a happy ending.

The airline has lost a plane and the insurance will have to pay out. The passengers are all freaked out but will be happy that their next of kin won’t have to learn all about their last moments on Flight 523 on an upcoming episode of Aircrash Investigation.

Officials were starting to probe the cause of the crash even as they marveled at the lack of fatalities.

“We must be the luckiest country and luckiest set of people in the world to escape so lightly,” said Health Minister Leslie Ramsammy, who said more than 30 people were taken to the hospital. Only three of those had to be admitted for a broken leg, bumps, cuts and bruises.

Geeta Ramsingh, 41, of Philadelphia, recalled how applause at the arrival quickly “turned to screams”.

“The plane sped up as if attempting to take off again. It is then that I smelled gas in the cabin and people started to shout and holler,” she said.

When the plane crumpled to a stop, Ramsingh said she hopped onto the wing and then onto the dirt road outside the runway fence.

“A fellow who was trying to escape as well mistakenly jumped on my back and that is why my knees are bruised,” she said.

“So I am in pain, but very thankful to be alive.”

Nobody had yet showed up to rescue her, “but a taxi driver appeared from nowhere and charged me $20 to take me to the terminal. I had to pay, but in times of emergencies, you don’t charge people for a ride,” she said, sitting on a chair in the arrival area surrounded by relatives.

She was returning to her native country for only the second time in 30 years. Great to see that the free market is alive and well in Guyana.